Thursday, April 25, 2013

A New Poem


By Charles Patrick Norman

The prison bus, the Bluebird of Sadness, greets us
inside the fenced sallyport gate with rear door open,
beckoning like the black maw of the Beast, trudge now
up the three flimsy metal steps to your fate.
Fifty men pack into the Bluebird struggling with our
mesh bags of meager belongings: hopeless trial transcripts,
Dear John letters, flip-flops, empty deodorants, Gideon Bibles
given out by do-gooders like magic protective talismans,
stacking ourselves in broken seats, rusted shelves without
upholstery, steel grates bolted over windows, no escape,
shipped like UPS, boxes with leg irons, signed for,
except UPS deliverymen don’t pack pistols and shotguns.

The old diesel wheezes, the guard/driver grinds gears,
stomps the brakes, laughs at laws of inertia staggering
those left standing, catching their balance on seat backs
and shoulders, bracing themselves for the eight-hour
transport to another anonymous fenced-in pasture, a prison
not unlike the last one, or the ones before, or after.
The heaving, rocking Bluebird of Sadness groans, complain
up the incline interstate entrance ramp, melds into
a racing river of rubber and steel cans filled with
citizens traveling in parallel lives, staring straight ahead,
talking on cell phones or nodding their heads to silent
music beamed from satellites, oblivious to their destinies,

Or the Bluebird of Sadness packed with lost souls on
their way to Purgatory, different destinations, yet the same.
We dread/desire the crash, the out-of-control Bluebird
of Sadness tumbling along the highway, scattering speeding 
citizens to the Four Winds like ninepins or dandelions,
the blue-clad, chained sacrificial rams rotating like plaid
shirts, socks, blouses, trousers inside the clothes dryer,
padlocked, unable to escape the inevitable flames.
We plant our heads against window grates to get a better look
at cars ad citizens zipping past us to the left, an occasional
glimpse of legs and thighs that generates hoots and catcalls from men
whose only solace comes from their imaginings or other men.

Bladders fill and men form lines in the aisle to a metal funnel
mounted waist-high at the back of the bus, connected to a tube that
drains through a hole in the floor, dribbling noxious urine
onto the pavement at sixty miles per hour, Lexus, BMW, Benz,
Nissan, Kia and Chevrolet plowing through yellow mist unaware.
Swerves and surges tumble one lost soul from his attempted
perch over the funnel, spraying others, curses, shoves,
and fists swinging, grumbles, buttons up his wet trousers
(no zippers allowed in prison), staggers past other full bladders
in the aisle, takes his rusty, broken seat, awaits the coming fences,
open gates drawing in the Bluebird of Sadness and her
load of flesh, to feed the monster, Moloch, once again.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


On the weekend of April 13 and 14, Charlie was blessed with a visit from his mother, Lucille Norman. She had taken a few days of her vacation from her full-time job at Walmart, to make the arduous journey of over 400 miles one way, thanks to the welcome assistance of her friend, Phil.

Lucille was able to visit Charlie on both Saturday and Sunday. It was a warm and joyful  visit for both, full of plenty of talk about goings on and catching up with family and friends. The last time they were able to visit prior to this weekend was 2 years ago.

Charlie continues to be awed and inspired by his gracious mother and is grateful for every opportunity to see her. It would be much better for both if he were moved to a location closer to her home in Tampa, so that visiting him would not be such a hardship on her. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow. Such a move for Charlie would apparently take an act of God to accomplish.

If you are so inclined, prayers for both of these good people would be appreciated.

Wishing you good times with your treasured family members,

Sunday, April 7, 2013


April 5, 2013, marks the 35th anniversary of Charles Patrick Norman’s wrongful arrest, prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment for a murder someone else committed.

A Message from the Editor:

I am continuously amazed at the strength of character and integrity exhibited by my dearest friend, Charlie Norman, in the face of incredible official oppression and retaliation for his unyielding commitment to the truth, against all odds.

Men of such determination are rare; indeed, I have never met anyone like Charlie. It seems that others reaction to him are in the extremes, either they love him or hate him, hold him in high regard, or totally dismiss him,   with little in-between opinions. Anyone who actually knows him, who reads his written thoughts and words, self-revelatory poems, plays, short stories and essays, comes away with a profound feeling that this is an extraordinarily talented and creative person who expresses truth, who has stared into the faces of evil and not flinched.

I’ve read all the reports and attended every hearing over the past 13 years and have been shocked and offended by the vitriol and lies put forth by the corrupt state attorney, Mark Ober, of Tampa, who wrongfully convicted Charles Norman of murder based upon false testimony of convicted felons who were actually the perpetrators involved in the 1975 crime, desperate, dangerous men who were paroled from prison and let loose on society by this evil man.

Not a scintilla of forensic or physical evidence connected Charlie with the crime. In fact, Mark Ober withheld evidence that proved that Charlie was nowhere near the scene that night. He was blinded by his political ambitions.

How could this travesty of justice have gone on so long? It is a long, sad story that needs to come to an end. There is only so much that Charlie has been able to do on his own. Now it is time for good people to come together to right this terrible wrong. Every week, it seems, the news comes out of people being freed after serving decades in prison for crimes they did not commit. Charlie is one of these falsely imprisoned people.

How can you help? As it is with most campaigns in our society, it is a matter of money. If his family had been wealthy, this never would have happened. Larry Wingate, the actual triggerman in the shooting murder of Steve Bluffstone, bragged that his millionaire father paid off crooked cops and prosecutors  who fabricated the case against Charlie. Wingate, a drug addict and dealer suspected of other murders, never served a day in prison for the Bluffstone murder.

The Norman Partnership, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation with the mission of wrongful imprisonment education, operates a web site, where more details of Charlie’s case and information about him can be found. There is also donation information  for anyone wanting to help with a tax-deductible contribution.

Charlie Norman deserves to be free and to be heard, and for that to happen will require the help of many more people than the handful who rally around him now.

Please spread the word and pass it on.
God bless you.